Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison January 15, 2020 11 Comments 5 Min Read

My washing machine heard a rumour, just before Christmas, that washing machines of its ilk were setting themselves on fire and so being an obedient little thing, she duly did as she was told and two days after the machines were recalled she started to smoulder, apparently in sheer worry about being left out of the fire-starting posse. #FOMO

And so I find myself knee deep in laundry because all though the powers that be are insisting that said machine will be replaced, apparently this will not be until the 31st of January when I shall have grown rather tired of casting my laundry out to whoever will have it, hand-washing my smalls and visiting the darn launderette.

(Trust me: keeping house the old-fashioned way is fun until it is forced upon you and mod-cons taken out of the equation.)

Still at least the house didn’t go on fire. Ste and I did, after all, in our usual convoluted fashion, come to the conclusion after three days of muttering about the *funny smell* , that perhaps something was amiss, with only minutes to spare before the laundry shack (as it shall hereby be known due to its crumbling state) went up in flames and Ste saw fit to pull the plug out.#alwaysontheball

Never being one to grumble (ha ha ha says she who never stops!), I am getting on with it, with sleeves rolled up, balm ready to soothe chapped and resentful hands, towels fragranced by other peoples laundry and a teenager outraged by the very notion that his favorite, holey jeans might have left the house without him.

Oh the drama! In quite the most first world way, I feel like having the kind of tantrum I do believe most of the world’s press visualises Meghan Markle having on a daily basis, over tiara’s and wot-not. Never mind that Australia is burning and the world looks to be on the brink of war, what about my washing machine?! What about Finn’s jeans?? What about Meghan’s right to privacy and private jets?! Oh how privileged we are. How utterly spoilt by being once removed from real danger and so liable to self-indulgence, that we cannot see past our preposterously large noses. #ashamed.

Today though. With a maiden resplendent with lavender soaked knickers and the kind of up-do that could scare horses were they happen to come across my abundance of hair in the most unruly bun, (snazzily accessorised by a swipe of red lipstick I rubbed on to test and will now have to wear FOREVER because it it has tattooed my lips), I am feeling rather demented. While Ste has become as lovely and zen as a Buddhist monk, I have stepped into his former role as the lunatic of the house and I have no doubt that anyone witnessing the spectacle of me trying to manage all that I have convinced myself I have to manage if I am to keep us in clean clothes and veganaury meals, would submit rave reviews.

For it is true that I am pulling off mild hysteria with aplomb. Not unhappy hysteria you understand? More a kind of frenzy unbecoming to January when my whole person longs for peace and quiet in which to plot, and plan and do my asanas in the privacy of my fairy-lit bedroom.

The sort of hysteria that has got me typing night and day behind the Brocante scenes and worrying that perhaps my readers imagine I do nothing but lie back on my chaise longue while a minion drops grapes into my mouth as if I were an over-stuffed parrot. #bossladyguilt.

Oh yes, the kind of hysteria that has me over-compensating for working too much, by staying up until stupid o’clock with Finley, helping him to plot out his (rather amazing) novel, then lying in bed staring at the ceiling worrying that with only a few months before his GCSE’s I should be insisting that he set aside creativity in favour of physics and going a little tiger mother in the process. #mummyguilt.

And indeed the kind of bizarre hysteria that has me applying make-up at five o’clock in the afternoon, so that as Ste walks through the door, he isn’t suddenly smacked in the face by the realisation that he lives with the She-Devil. #ludicrousandfranklyirrationalguilt.

I’m not sure what is happening. You wander over to BrocanteHome for soothing encouragement and are met with a barrage of the frankly berserk from me! There is a kind of contented fury about me I don’t seem to be able to manage in the same way other women do – something akin to frustration exasperated by a life stuffed with impossible things that challenge my inner dysfunctional executive on a daily basis.

I do believe this is a matter of discombobulation. The washing machine isn’t working and the Royal family is falling apart. I can’t put the fires out in Australia, nor find the pan I like to make scrambled egg in. I’m not happy with war-mongering men and I have developed piles (#tmi) because my system has ground to a halt now my body has made it clear she wants nothing to do with thyroid hormones while she is busy seducing the menopause. All this, and the fridge appears to be melting and I feel perpetually anxious about all sorts of matter that don’t need worrying about to the degree that it would probably be best if my family simply issued me with a daily slap to snap me out of my hysteria. #howdootherwomanmanagewithsuchgrace

Heavens. Anyways. The sun is shining today. Perhaps I will drag the maiden into the garden to dry my knickers quicker, or do a few rounds with the punchbag in my pink boxing gloves to get my stilted circulation going. Soon, in an effort to restore my equilibrium I will slip my feet into un-seasonal ballet shoes and head up to the lovely farm to buy dwarf carrots, onions on a string and a jar of delicious roasted red peppers. All the better for the deliberate meditation that is chopping, and stirring and tasting on a Wednesday afternoon. Then later I will go to see Cats with Ste’s lovely Mum and sister,and come home to a steaming bowl of homemade soup, bread warm from the oven, and a hug from my boys.

And another day will have passed and no doubt this bout of anxiety will go with it, so tomorrow I can wake up and attempt to be a normal person all over again.

As my Mum always used to say, God loves a trier.

#unlikely #willgiveitmybestshot #sorryaboutallthehashtags #istartedandcouldntstop #whathaveparrotsgottodowithit


  1. lazy h says:

    I am worried that you are using fairies to light your bedroom.

    1. Alison says:

      Poor things are overworked and underpaid. But so pretty!x

  2. MJ Larson says:

    What a perfectly appropriate piece. So completely relatable. I do believe you are not alone, and as we will stand together, so too will we gather our wits about us, and proceed to find ourselves back on our desired path. I know I put a small project safely away when a guest arrived for a few days, I need to finish it, but alas, i put it away too safely. Not earth shattering by any means, but it has thrown everything out of whack.

    1. Alison says:

      Welcome to the discombulated club!x

  3. Katy Jaggard says:

    I was listening to a podcast yesterday and the lovely lady on there said something that really struck me right in the head. She said all of us (mothers but I’d say probably just women) are a bit burnt out in January! I kept wondering why I couldn’t handle just the ordinary day to day stresses I think I’d go catatonic if the washing machine broke now ?

    1. Alison says:

      I think the ordinary stresses combine with both the sheer after Christmas exhaustion, and the need to do better because it is a New year … and then lo and behold we feel discombobulates and utterly burnt out…

  4. lynne says:

    Dear dear Alison, I could not stop laughing at this post, even though I sympathize deeply and am right there with you! I have such a routine to cleaning and laundry that if there is a snafu — like God help us a washing machine that broke — the household comes to a halt and I wring my hands in despair. I know what this is like! One year the air conditioner (a must-have in Texas in summer), the hot water heater, and the washer all decided to Call It A Day within 3 days of each other. Honestly, I just wanted to get in the car and drive away and not come back.
    Every day is a clean slate, so I’m hoping your new washer arrives sooner than the 31st. In the meantime, maybe just wear the same outfit over and over and just wash it every few days? Let the boys fend for themselves! (Although this is probably not a good idea.)
    Love to you! And thank you for always sharing your chaos as well as your blessings!

  5. Barbara says:

    January is a tough month. Following on the heels of the craziness that the holidays can be, the setting of unrealistic resolutions (to make us all more wonderful than we now are)etc. And I am just worn down by the insanity of old white men treating the planet as their personal commodity to further their own selfish agendas. There…I feel better getting that last part out there.
    Alison I so love your words, clear and honest. You tell it like it is, warts and sunshine and all. Keep up the good words/works. Blessings are coming your way. (hopefully before the 31st

  6. Cindy says:

    I love it. I do not love all the problems at all. I love how you can step back and view it.
    I hope things get better.

  7. Jennifer says:

    This has been me as well this month, but with husband’s health problems instead of the washer. I have wished more than once that I could burn all this down and start again, but, instead, I have started reading on the treadmill and drinking more than one cup of coffee a day and crying in the grocery store – only once, but it was enough.

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